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Review: Hexbound by Chloe Neill

Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.
They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

Hexbound (Dark Elite #2) by Chloe Neill

Release Date: 7 Dec 2010
Read Date: 6 May 2011
Rating:

Hexbound picks up where Firespell left off. Lily is still learning about her powers and that of the Adepts. “As Adepts, we promise to give up our magic, to give it back to the universe before it turns us into soul-suckers. Reapers don’t. And in order to keep their suddenly hungry power from devouring them from the inside out, they have to feed from the souls of Adepts or humans.” They believe that after twenty-five years, “the magic begins to degrade you, to devour your soul like some kind of rangy tentacle monster.”

Lily and her friend Scout are trying to avoid the “brat-pack drama”, but unfortunately it’s ever present. I do like Lily and Scout, but at times the story seems to be weighed down by too much angst for me. That’s the risk I take when choosing to read YA. I do enjoy the different types of powers Chloe has created in Lily’s world. Some can touch buildings to “read the history”, manipulate fire or ice and some are wicked fighters.

I’m also intrigued by Sebastian. He’s a Reaper who appears to be trying to help Lily. Lily is attracted him and visa versa, but he’s the bad guy. Or is he? We can’t really get a lock on him. I’m looking forward to learning more about him and whether or not everything he’s told her is true.

As Sebastian tells Lily, “…things are rarely as simple as they seem. Sometimes you don’t figure out how the story is supposed to end until you’ve read it.”

I’ll be continuing the series with Charmfall, which is due in Jan 2012.

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Review: Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood

Every dog might have his day, but the hellhound guards the night . . .

As a snowstorm locks down the city, more than the roads are getting iced. Someone’s beheaded the wrong girl, and vampire-on-the-lam Talia Rostova thinks it was meant to be her. Now she’s the prime suspect in her own botched murder—and the prisoner of her smoking-hot neighbor.

Lore is a hellhound, bred to serve and protect, so he’s not freeing Talia until he’s sure that she’s the prey and not the hunter. You’d think a beautiful woman in his bedroom would be a good thing, but trouble-prone Talia has run afoul of someone more sinister than your average lunatic killer. An ancient Undead is wreaking vengeance on the city—and on her—and Lore will have to go far beyond a stake to put him back in his grave . . .

 

 

Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten #4) by Sharon Ashwood

Release Date: 7 Jun 2011

Read Date: 20 Jun 2011

Rating:

I have always enjoyed Sharon Ashwood’s Dark Forgotten series. Frostbound was no exception. I think she does a great job of blending UF and PNR. Like a PNURF, paranormal urban romantic fantasy.

This book focuses on one of my favorite characters so far in the series, Lore, a hellhound who managed to escape from the the Castle. He’s acting sheriff during a time when supes are on edge. Why? Because the first supe election is only a month or so away. Supernaturals have only been out of the closet for a short time and the humans are still adjusting.

Talia, a newly turned vampire/former hunter, has been running from her abusive sire and is staying with her look-a-like cousin. When her cousin is murdered Lore investigates, Talia freaks and the who-done-it begins.

While I thought I’d be more drawn to Talia, seeing as she was turned against her will, grew up killing “monsters” and now is having to adjust to being that which she’s always hated … I was only partially interested. I was more interested in Lore, Hellhound Alpha. I did feel like they were a good fit though.

Definitely continuing on with the series.

Series Order:

Ravenous (The Dark Forgotten, #1) Scorched (The Dark Forgotten, #2) Unchained (The Dark Forgotten, #3) Frostbound (The Dark Forgotten, #4)
EXTRAS offered on the author’s website include a book video & excerpt for Frostbound, including excerpts for the previous books as well.  Frostbound was Nominated for Romance Reviews Today Best Book of the Year 2011.

Wishing Well Wednesday ~ Bounty Hunter Babe

Wishing Well Wednesday is a weekly feature showcasing the books we have on our wish lists and those we’re looking forward to being published.


Bounty Hunter Babe, Anna Strong

If you don’t recognize the character name, Anna Strong, you are missing out on a great urban fantasy series!


Crossroads (Anna Strong Chronicles #7) by Jeanne C. Stein
Release Date: 30 August 2011

As a bounty hunter, Anna Strong knew how to find trouble. But now that she’s a vampire, trouble seems to have a knack for finding her…

The death of Anna’s old vampire mentor is causing ripples in the mortal world. His forensic report has brought up some anomalies and people are asking questions-questions that no vampire wants to answer. Anna needs to lie low, but the sudden discovery of a slew of drained bodies near the Mexican border brings an old flame back into her life and with him, a new challenge. Then, some stunning news from an unexpected source sends Anna and her friend Daniel Frey on a journey that may change both their lives-forever.



Happy Reading!


Wishing Well Wednesday ~ Space … the Final Frontier

Wishing Well Wednesday is a weekly feature showcasing the books we have on our wish lists and those we’re looking forward to being published.


“Space … the Final Frontier” ~ Star Trek

This week brings us the long awaited next book in one my favorite science fiction series!


Aftermath (Sirantha Jax #5) by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: 30 Aug 2011

DEAD HEROES GET MONUMENTS. LIVE ONES GET TRIALS.

Sirantha Jax has the right genes—ones that enable her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. But it’s also in her genetic makeup to go it alone. It’s a character trait that has gotten her into—and out of—hot water time and time again, but now she’s caused one of the most horrific events in military history…

During the war against murderous, flesh-eating aliens, Sirantha went AWOL and shifted grimspace beacons to keep the enemy from invading humanity’s homeworld. The cost of her actions: the destruction of modern interstellar travel—and the lives of six hundred Conglomerate soldiers.

Accused of dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder, and high treason, Sirantha is on trial for her life. And only time will tell if she’s one of the Conglomerate’s greatest heroes—or most infamous criminals…


Happy Reading!


Review: The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston

One of the hottest new voices in paranormal romance, Shelly Laurenston knows how to do it all, delivering tales that are wickedly funny, action-packed, and scorch-your-fingers sexy. With The Mane Event, she proves just how delicious love can be once you unleash your inner beast…

Christmas Pride

How come all the good-looking ones are insane? That’s what runs through NYPD cop Desiree “Dez” MacDermot’s mind the minute she hooks up again with her childhood buddy, Mace Llewellyn. It isn’t just the way he stares at her with those too-sexy gold eyes–as if he could devour her on the spot. Or the six-four, built-like-a-Navy Seal bod-o-death. It isn’t even that he sniffs her neck and purrs, making her entire body tingle. It’s more about that disconcerting, shifting-from-man-to-lion thing that unhinges her…and makes her want more. Mace likes making Dez crazy. In fact, he likes her any way he can get her–in bed, on the desk, here, now, again. Together, they’d always been trouble, but Dez has no idea just how good trouble can feel…

Shaw’s Tail

Brendon Shaw, hotel owner and lion shifter, has seen better days. He’s been beaten, had a gun to the back of his head, and had to be rescued by a Pack of shape-shifting wolves. He didn’t think he’d survive the night, much less find the woman of his dreams. And he never thought the woman of his dreams would have a Tennessee accent and wear cowboy boots. Once he sets his sights on her, the predator in him is ready to pounce and never let go. Ronnie Lee Reed is ready to change her life, and New York City is the place where any girl–even one who runs with a Pack–can redefine herself. First order of business: find a mate, settle down, and stop using men for sex. Even big, gorgeous, lion-shifting, oh-my-what-big-um-paws-you-have men. Then again…

The Mane Event (Pride #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Release Date: 1 Oct 2007
Read: 27 Aug 2011

Rating:


Shelly Laurenston’s writing cracks me up! I laughed my way through her Pack series and, after reading Here Kitty, Kitty! I couldn’t wait to start her Pride series. Book 1 did not disappoint. In fact, it was smarter and better written.

The Mane Event gives us two stories. Christmas Pride introduces us to BFFs who are reunited after twenty years. Mace Llewellyn is a Pride male returning home from the Navy. He’s got a mission … “He needed to find a woman. Not any woman, but the woman who had haunted his dreams and fantasies for longer than he could remember.” This woman is Desiree “Dez” MacDermot. When they were 14-years old she “left him” and he’s never forgotten her. She hasn’t forgotten him either. Dez is a human, a former Marine, now Cop, who is investigating the murder of a shifter. Dez doesn’t know the world of shifters exist – yet. Mace served with Smitty, a wolf from the Smith Pack of Tennessee. He and Smitty are a hoot. So is Smitty’s little sister, Sissy Mae. They poke fun at Mace (well, for many reasons, but mostly) because wolves mate for life, not cats. He doesn’t care one bit! He knows Dez is his mate and now, he just has to convince her of that.

Throw in the chaos of holiday family gatherings and you have a LOL, fun, hot story!

Rating:

I wish there had been more to this story. I wasn’t ready to stop reading about this crazy bunch of wolves and cats. But, I enjoyed the second story almost as much as the first. So, I won’t complain too much.

Shaw’s Tail picks up with Brendon Shaw, wealthy hotel owner, lion shifter and Pride male, where his story left off in Christmas Pride. He’s been beaten up and Ronnie Lee Reed, a She-wolf in the Smith Pack of Tennessee and Sissy Mae’s BFF, is watching over him while he’s hospitalized. Ronnie Lee just couldn’t leave the big cat all alone, pack (having someone at your back) is important to her and no one else was there for him. When Shaw wakes up, in the hospital, he’s “sick with fever”. This fever causes him to shift multiple times, act without thinking and more than a tad bit horny. He may not be 100% aware of what’s what, but he and his cat know, he wants Ronnie. Only problem, Ronnie’s a love-um-&-leave-um kinda gal, always has been. She’s all for a healthy romp in the sack, but long-term, no way. He’s dead-set on convincing her they belong together. The secondary plot involves Shaw’s continued hunt for his baby brother.

Rating:

If you are a fan of humorous PNR, Shelly’s books are for you! When I say humorous, I mean LOL-LMAO funny! Just take a look at some of the quotes throughout this one that had me LOL. The books are also full of hot, shifter sex. What’s stoppin’ ya?

I look forward to continuing the series!

Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with a need for vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.

Nicolai the Vampire is renowned for his virility, but in a cruel twist of fate “The Dark Seducer” has become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remains is a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who can help him.

When the wanton vampire summons Jane Parker, she is helpless to obey. She’s drawn to his dark sexuality and into his magical realm. But for this human, all is not a fairy tale. For saving Nicolai could mean losing the only man she’s ever craved…


Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows #1) by Gena Showalter

Release Date: 23 Aug 2011
Edition: Kindle
Read: 21 July 2011

Rating:

Lord of the Vampires kicks off the quad Royal House of Shadows series by Gena Showalter, Jill Monroe, Jessica Andersen and Nalini Singh. Each book will follow a royal house sibling from the kingdom of Elden who’s “queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with a need for vengeance”.

Nicolai is one of the royal heirs scattered to the winds. He’s ends up without a memory of who he is, chained in the dungeon playroom of Odette, Princess of the witches in the kingdom of Delfina.

Jane, a scientist recovering from a car accident that killed her family, starts having “don’t ever stop” dreams about a vampire chained up. {Where can I sign up for one of those?} When a mysterious book arrives for her, she is sure it has to do with her dream lover and falls asleep reading it. When she awakes, she finds herself in another world.

This book had some serious “Oh, yeah, baby!” moments in the beginning with Memory-Loss Nicolai chained, all nekked and helpless. And, how could anyone forget the seriously hot vampire sex throughout? Impossible!

Nicolai is your quintessential alpha-caveman-male. His “Mine!” and “Want!” at times had me thinking “Yes!” and others wishing he’d form a full sentence. I also had moments with Jane of “oh, for the love of Pete, shut up already” to “take what’s yours, hun”. I was feeling quite bi-polar throughout this book actually.

The best bits for me included Nicolai regaining his memories. Honestly, I wasn’t sure exactly how to rate this book. I settled on 3.5 stars, but didn’t round up.

When I saw two of my favorite authors listed in this lineup, I had to check it out. While Nicolai’s story didn’t wow me, it was super hot and set the stage for the family’s story. I plan to check out Jill’s story, Lord of Rage, about Princess Breena.

This was a Harlequin ARC provided to me by Netgalley

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews ~ Welcome to the Apocalypse

MM-DBR

Manic Monday | Drive-By Reviews is a weekly feature where we’ll share some mini-reviews Alice-style.


Enclave (Razorland Trilogy #1) by Ann Aguirre

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.


“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice

Opening Line: “I was born during the second holocaust.” {Girl15}
Closing Line: “When she opened the door to us fully, we went inside.” {Deuce}


“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you’re at.” ~ Mad Hatter

I listened to this audiobook and it made it so easy to visualize myself in Deuce’s post-apocalyptic New York. Deuce lives in the Enclave where there are set rules and everyone has a job. They do not question those rules. At least she doesn’t, not until a boy from Topside, Fade, arrives and is partnered up with her. He follows the rules when they go along with his own plans. Death is the penalty for breaking the rules. Deuce is a skilled hunter. What are they hunting? Zombies! They are called Freaks in this world. While they used to be George Romero bumbling idiot types, now they are becoming smarter and more terrifying. Deuce is having a hard time trusting Fade, but when you’re outside of the Enclave – just you and your partner – it’s either fight together or die alone.


Rating:


“What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” ~ Alice

Ann Aguirre was not a new2me author.


“That’s just it. If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” ~ The Hare

The only thing not to like about this book is its length. It was over too quickly. Ann’s writing pulls you into her stories, whether they be set in space (Sirantha Jax) or down below a devastated city. The audiobook felt like I was watching a movie. The narrator, Emily Bauer, did a fantastic job of bringing Ann’s story to life. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must watch the book trailer; it’s a very good visualization. On her website, Ann has also posted drawings of the main characters, be sure to take a look at her vision of Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan. You can also read the first two chapters in pdf or ePub format and listen to an interview with Ann about Enclave and her reasons for writing about the apocalypse.


“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.” ~ The Duchess

This quote sums up the life or death situations they face together.


“I have your back. I didn’t mean only when it’s easy. All the time.” {Fade}


“We’re all mad here.” ~ The Cheshire Cat

This book receives the Cheshire Cat award for Ann’s amazing ability to bring her characters and their worlds to life!




Until Next Week ~ Happy Reading


Review: “Magic Bites” by Ilona Andrews

I finished reading the fantastic fifth installment of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, Magic Slays, on Monday, 13 June. A friend and I decided to re-read the first four books during a Goodreads’ group’s read-a-thon this week. On Tuesday, we finished our re-read of Magic Bites.

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic . . .

One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy . . .


Details:
Mass Market Paperback, 260 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Ace
ISBN#: 9780441014897


My rating:


Re-Read: 14 June 2011


I first read Magic Bleeds when it was released in 2007. I loved it back then and loved it this time too. There were a lot of things I’d forgotten, so after reading Magic Slays, it was fun to return to the beginning and remember how it all started.

If you haven’t read any of the books, you may want to stop reading here … I’m not using spoiler tags or blocking my entire review, but there are spoilers throughout – Consider yourself warned! 😉

The things that strike me most about Kate are her ability to power on when she’s about to die or, at least, feels like she is. She’s very modest about her pain and her abilities. She hates working with others and being responsible for their safety, yet she’s a very compassionate and protective person when she’s put in that position. She is snarky as hell and I love it. Her sense of humor keeps me laughing and keeps her enemies off balance. She doesn’t change who she is to please anyone. And she’s brutally honest, to a fault sometimes.

Refreshers I enjoyed the most: Her first meeting with Curran, her first impression of Aunt B, her first Pack meeting and subsequent bond with Derek, and her first medical treatment with Dr. Doolittle.

I cannot believe I’d forgotten she didn’t know Jim was on the Pack council. It was fun reading about their initial “partnership” as well. I loved “meeting” Ghastek and Saiman again. Saiman is a strange bird. Such an interesting character. I also love Maxine. I wish I could do that! And, Rowena – funny “meeting her again” when I know what I know now.

It was so much fun reading the banter between Kate and Curran, which starts immediately upon meeting him with her “Here, Kitty, Kitty.” The scenes between them, like her sending him a saucer of milk when he’s left the med-tank early to follow her on her date with Crest, are a hoot. Especially knowing what’s to come. So many times I was thinking, “If you only knew!”

I’m going to be re-read the rest of the series over the next two days and can’t wait! It’s a perfect fix after Magic Slays and slows the Kate & Curran withdrawal. But, once I’m done with Magic Bleeds, I’ll either have to start all over or stew as I anxiously await book #6, which is expected sometime in 2012.


Covers Around the World ~ Ilona Andrews’ ‘Kate Daniels’ Series

I have a serious case of cover love.

And, I’m anxious to start reading Ilona Andrews’ 5th Kate Daniels book, Magic Slays. I’ve got a big crush on Curran and love Kate’s fierceness. So, I decided to combine my loves and spotlight the international covers (I could find) for this fantastic series.

Book #1: “Magic Bites”


In order shown: US, UK, Germany, Spain, France, Poland & China
Magic Bites Montage


Book #2: “Magic Burns”


In order shown: US, UK, Germany, Spain, France, Poland & China
Magic Burns Montage


Book #3: “Magic Strikes”


In order shown: US, UK, Germany, Spain & France
Magic Strikes Montage


Book #4: “Magic Bleeds”


In order shown: US & Germany
Magic Bleeds Montage


Book #5: “Magic Slays”


In order shown: US & Germany
Magic Slays Montage


Have you started this series yet?
If not, WHY? Start Now! You will not be sorry you did!

To find out more about this series, check out: Ilona & Gordon’s Website | Goodreads

Pre-release Teasers: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

I, like thousands of others, am desperate to get my hands on a copy of Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changeling #10) by Nalini Singh, who is evilly graciously releasing short excerpts from the book prior to its release on May 31st.

I’ve pre-ordered my copy, have you ordered yours?

If you don’t want to be tortured teased with these snippets look away now.

Part of a conversation between Ben and Hawke

“Didja really put Sinna in jail?”

Hawke bit the inside of his cheek. “Yep.”

Brown eyes the same dark shade as his mother’s, turned wolf-amber in shock. “How come?”

“She didn’t follow the rules.”

Ben thought about it for a second, lines wrinkling up that baby-smooth forehead. “Is it like time-out for grown-ups?”

“Yep.”

“Oh.” A decisive nod. “I’ll tell Marlee.”


Part of a conversation between Sienna and Hawke

[Sienna] “Do you like my top?”

“Is that what it is?”

“Latest style,” she assured him, ignoring the silky menace of his response. “Laces up the side, so it’s easier to take off.”

His hands clenched on the steering wheel as he headed up into the mountains.

“And the boots.” She lifted one leg up to the dash, stroked her hand over her thigh. “They make me—”

The car shuddered to a halt near the perimeter of den territory.


Another part of a conversation between Sienna and Hawke (and may be linked to the above)

“Not a word,” he snapped as he got into the driver’s seat. “Did you know what you were doing up on that bar?” Not giving her a chance to answer, he continued, “Most of those men were ready to grab you and strip you naked right there.”
Her simmering temper ignited. “I know how to defend myself, thanks to Indigo. And dancing wasn’t a crime last time I checked.”
“I said, not a damn word.” His hands tightened on the steering wheel as he drove them out of the popular nightlife area.
She snorted, too mad to be thinking about the sanity of challenging a predatory changeling male in the grip of pure raging fury. “How about instead of orders, Mr. Alpha Wolf, you actually stop hiding and talk to me?”
“Don’t push me, little girl.” Quiet, quiet words.


Countdown Quote #1

Indigo gave him an easy, dangerous smile. “I know all you have to do is snap your fingers and women throw themselves into your bed—” She held up a hand when he growled. “I’m not saying you use your position, but the fact that you’re alpha, the reason why you’re alpha—your strength, your speed, your sheer dominance, that’s potent stuff. Not to mention your pretty face.”


The countdown quotes are currently being released on Nalini’s blog and her Facebook page.